"These furnish an excuse for entering places where otherwise we could not go," explains Em.
After arranging a rendezvous, we separate. Mattie and Liz go off in one direction, and Em and I in another. From this our progress seems like a descent into Tartarus. Em pauses before a miserable-looking saloon, pushes open the low, swinging door, and we go in. It is a low-ceiled room, dingy with dirt, dim with the smoke, nauseating with the fumes of sour beer and vile liquor. A sloppy bar extends along one side, and opposite is a long table, with indescribable viands littered over it, interspersed with empty glasses, battered hats, and cigar stumps. A motley crowd of men and women jostle in the narrow space. Em speaks to the soberest looking of the lot. He listens to her words, others crowd about. Many accept the slips we offer, and gradually as the throng separates to make way, we gain the further end of the apartment. Em's serious, sweet, saint-like face I follow like a star. All sense of fear slips from me, and a great pity fills my soul as I look upon the various types of wretchedness.
As the night wears on, the whole apartment seems to wake up. Every house is alight; the narrow sidewalks and filthy streets are full of people. Miserable little children, with sin-stamped faces, dart about like rats; little ones who ought to be in their cribs shift for themselves, and sleep on cellar doors and areas, and under carts; a few vendors are abroad with their wares, but the most of the traffic going on is of a different description. Along Water Street are women conspicuously dressed in gaudy colours. Their heavily-painted faces are bloated or pinched; they shiver in the raw night air. Liz speaks to one, who replies that she would like to talk, but dare not, and as she says this an old hag comes to the door and cries: "Get along; don't hinder her work! During the evening a man to whom Em has been talking has told her: —"You ought to join the Salvation Army; they are the only good women who, bother us down here. I don't want to lead that sort of life; but I must go where it is light and warm and clean after working all day, and there isn't any place but this to come to" exclaimed the man. "You will appreciate the plea to-morrow when you see how the people live," Em says, as we turn our steps toward the tenement room, which seems like an oasis of peace and purity after the howling desert we have been wandering in. Em and Mattie brew some oatmeal gruel, and being chilled and faint we enjoyed a cup of it. Liz and I share a cot in the outer room. We are just going to sleep when agonised cries ring out through the night; then the tones of a woman's voice pleading pitifully reach our ears. We are unable to distinguish her words, but the sound is heart-rending. It comes from one of those dreadful Water Street houses, and we all feel that a tragedy is taking place. There is a sound of crashing blows and then silence.
It is customary in the slums to leave the house door open perpetually, which is convenient for tramps, who creep into the hall-ways to sleep at night, thereby saving the few pence it costs to occupy a "spot" in the cheap lodging houses. Em and Mat keep the corridor without their room beautifully clean, and so it has become an especial favourite stamping ground for these vagrants. We were told this when Mattie locked and bolted the door and then tied the keys and the door-handle together. So we understand why there are shuffling steps along the corridor, bumping against the panels of the door, and heavily breathing without during the long hours of the night.
All day Em and Mat have been toiling among their neighbours, and the night before last they sat up with a dying woman. They are worn out and sleep heavily. Liz and I lie awake and wait for the coming of the morning; we are too oppressed by what we have seen and heard to talk.
In the morning Liz and I peep over into the rear houses where we heard those dreadful shrieks in the night. There is no sign of life, but we discover enough filth to breed diphtheria and typhoid throughout a large section. In the area below our window there are several inches of stagnant water, in which is heaped a mass of old shoes, cabbage heads, garbage, rotten wood, bones, rags and refuse, and a few dead rats. We understand now why Em keeps her room full of disinfectants. She tells us that she dare not make any appeal to the sanitary authorities, either on behalf of their own or any other dwelling, for fear of antagonizing the people, who consider such officials as their natural enemies.
The first visit we pay is up a number of eccentric little flights of shaky steps interspersed with twists of passageway. The floor is full of holes. The stairs have been patched here and there, but look perilous and sway beneath the feet, A low door on the landing is opened by a bundle of rags and filth, out of which issues a woman's voice in husky tones, bidding us enter. She has La grippe. We have to stand very close together, for the room is small, and already contains three women, a man, a baby, a bedstead, a stove, and indescribable dirt. The atmosphere is rank with impurity. The man is evidently dying. Seven weeks ago he was "gripped." He is now in the last stages of pneumonia. Em has tried to induce him to be removed to the hospital, and he gasps out his desire "to die in comfort in my own bed." Comfort! The "bed' is a rack heaped with rags. Sheets, pillow-cases, and night-clothes are not in vogue in the slums. A woman lies asleep on the dirty floor with her head under the table. Another woman, who has been sharing the night watch with the invalid's wife, is finishing her morning meal, in which roast oysters on the half shell are conspicuous. A child that appears never to have been washed toddles about the floor and tumbles over the sleeping woman's form. Em gives it some gruel, and ascertains that its name is "Christine."
The dirt, crowding, and smells in the first place are characteristic of half a dozen others we visited. We penetrate to garrets and descend into cellars. The "rear houses" are particularly dreadful. Everywhere there is decaying garbage lying about, and the dead cats and rats are evidence that there are mighty hunters among the gamins of the Fourth Ward. We find a number ill from the grip and consequent maladies. None of the sufferers will entertain the thought of seeking a hospital. One probably voices the opinion of the majority when he declares that "they'll wash you to death there." For these people a bath possesses more terror than the gallows or the grave.
In one room, with a wee window, lies a women dying of consumption; wasted wan, and wretched, lying on rags and swarming with vermin. Her little son, a boy of eight years, nestles beside her. His cheeks are scarlet, his eyes feverishly bright, and he has a hard cough. "It's the chills, mum," says the little chap. Six beds stand close together in another room; one is empty. Three days ago a woman died there and the body has just been taken away. It hasn't disturbed the rest of the inmates to have death present there. A woman is lying on the wrecks of a bedstead, slats and posts sticking out in every direction from the rags on which she reposes.
"It broke under me in the night," she explains. A woman is sick and wants Liz to say a prayer. We kneel on the filthy floor. Soon all my faculties are absorbed in speculating which will arrive first, the "Amen" or the "B flat" which is wending its way to wards me. This time the bug does not get there, and I enjoy grinding him under the sole of my Slum shoe when the prayer is ended.
In another room we find what looks like a corpse. It is a woman in an opium stupor. Drunken men are brawling around her.
Returning to our tenement, Em and Liz meet us, and we return to our experience. The minor details vary slightly, but the story is the same piteous tale of woe everywhere, and crime abounding, conditions which only change to a prison, a plunge in the river, or the Potter's field.
The Dark Continent can show no lower depth of degradation than that sounded by the dwellers of the dark alleys in Cherry Hill. There isn't a vice missing in that quarter. Every sin in the Decalogue flourishes in that feeder of penitentiaries and prisons. And even as its moral foulness permeates and poisons the veins of our social life so the malarial filth with which the locality reeks must sooner or later spread disease and death.
An awful picture, truly, but one which is to me irradiated with the love-light which shone in the eyes of "Em's serious, sweet, saintlike face."
Here is my second. It was written by a Journalist who had just witnessed the scene in Whitechapel. He writes: —
I had just passed Mr. Barnett's church when I was stopped by a small crowd at a street corner. There were about thirty or forty men, women, and children standing loosely together, some others were lounging on the opposite side of the street round the door of a public-house. In the centre of the crowd was a plain-looking little woman in Salvation Army uniform, with her eyes closed, praying the "dear Lord that he would bless these dear people, and save them, save them now!" Moved by curiosity, I pressed through the outer fringe of the crowd, and in doing so, I noticed a woman of another kind, also invoking Heaven, but in an altogether different fashion. Two dirty tramp-like men were listening to the prayer, standing the while smoking their short cutty pipes. For some reason or other they had offended the woman, and she was giving them a piece of her mind. They stood stolidly silent while she went at them like a fiend. She had been good-looking once, but was now horribly bloated with drink, and excited by passion. I heard both voices at the same time. What a contrast! The prayer was over now, and a pleading earnest address was being delivered.
"You are wrong," said the voice in the centre "you know you are; all this misery and poverty is a proof of it. You are prodigals. You have got away from your Father's house, and you are rebelling against Him every day Can you wonder that there is so much hunger, and oppression, and wretchedness allowed to come upon you? In the midst of it all your Father loves you He wants you to return to Him; to turn your backs upon your sins; abandon your evil doings; give up the drink and the service of the devil. He has given His Son Jesus Christ to die for you. He wants to save you. Come to His feet. He is waiting. His arms are open. I know the devil has got fast hold of you; but Jesus will give you grace to conquer him. He will help you to master your wicked habits and your love of drink. But come to Him now. God is love. He loves me. He loves you. He loves us all. He wants to save us all."
Clear and strong the voice, eloquent with the fervour of intense feeling, rang through the little crowd, past which streamed the ever-flowing tide of East End life. And at the same time that I heard this pure and passionate invocation to love God and be true to man I heard a voice on the outskirts, and it said this: "You —— swine! I'll knock the vitals out of yer. None of your —— impudence to me. —— your —— eyes, what do you mean by telling me that? You know what you ha' done, and now you are going to the Salvation Army. I'll let them know you, you dirty rascal." The man shifted his pipe. "What's the matter?" "Matter!" screamed the virago hoarsely." —— yer life, don't you know what's the matter? I'll matter ye, you —— hound. By God! I will, as sure as I'm alive. Matter! you know what's the matter." And so she went on, the men standing silently smoking until at last she took herself off her mouth full of oaths and cursing, to the public-house. It seemed as though the presence, and spirit, and words of the Officer, who still went on with the message of mercy, had some strange effect upon them, which made these poor wretches impervious to the taunting, bitter sarcasms of this brazen, blatant virago.
"God is love." Was it not, then, the accents of God's voice that sounded there above the din of the street and the swearing of the slums? Yea, verily, and that voice ceases not and will not cease, so long as the Slum Sisters fight under the banner of the Salvation Army.
To form an idea of the immense amount of good, temporal and spiritual, which the Slum Sister is doing; you need to follow them into the kennels where they live, preaching the Gospel with the mop and the scrubbing brush, and driving out the devil with soap and water. In one of our Slum posts, where the Officer's rooms were on the ground floor, about fourteen other families lived in the same house. One little water-closet in the back yard had to do service for the whole place. As for the dirt, one Officer writes, "It is impossible to scrub the Homes; some of them are in such a filthy condition. When they have a fire the ashes are left to accumulate for days. The table is very seldom, if ever, properly cleaned, dirty cups and saucers lie about it, together with bits of bread, and if they have bloaters the bones and heads are left on the table, Sometimes there are pieces of onions mixed up with the rest. The floors are in a very much worse condition than the street pavements, and when they are supposed to clean them they do it with about a pint of dirty water. When they wash, which is rarely, for washing to them seems an unnecessary work, they do it in a quart or two of water, and sometimes boil the things in some old saucepan in which they cook their food. They do this simply because they have no larger vessel to wash in. The vermin fall off the walls and ceiling on you while you are standing in the rooms. Some of the walls are covered with marks where they have killed them. Many people in the summer sit on the door steps all night, the reason for this being, that their rooms are so close from the heat and so unendurable from the vermin that they prefer staying out in the cool night air. But as they cannot stay anywhere long without drinking, they send for beer from the neighbouring public—alas! never far away —and pass it from one doorway to another, the result being singing, shouting and fighting up till three and four o'clock in the morning."
I could fill volumes with stories of the war against vermin, which is part of this campaign in the slums, but the subject is too revolting to those who are often indifferent to the agonies their fellow creatures suffer, so long as their sensitive ears are not shocked by the mention of so painful a subject. Here, for instance, is a sample of the kind of region in which the Slum Sisters spend themselves:
"In an apparently respectable street near Oxford street, the Officers where visiting one day when they saw a very dark staircase leading into a cellar, and thinking it possible that someone might be there they attempted to go down, and yet the staircase was so dark they thought it impossible for anyone to be there. However, they tried again and groped their way along in the dark for some time until at last they found the door and entered the room. At first they could not discern anything because of the darkness. But after they got used to it they saw a filthy room. There was no fire in the grate, but the fire-place was heaped up with ashes, an accumulation of several weeks at least. At one end of the room there was an old sack of rags and bones partly emptied upon the floor, from which there came a most unpleasant odour. At the other end lay an old man very ill. The apology for a bed on which he lay was filthy and had neither sheets nor blankets. His covering consisted of old rags. His poor wife, who attended on him, appeared to be a stranger to soap and water. These Slum Sisters nursed the old people, and on one occasion undertook to do their washing, and they brought it home to their copper for this purpose, but it was so infested with vermin that they did not know how to wash it. Their landlady, who happened to see them, forbade them ever to bring such stuff there any more. The old man, when well enough, worked at his trade, which was tailoring. They had two shillings and sixpence per week from the parish."
Here is a report from the headquarters of our Slum Brigade as to the work which the Slum Sisters have done. It is almost four years since the Slum Work was started in London. The principal work done by our first Officers was that of visiting the sick, cleansing the homes of the Slummers, and of feeding the hungry. The following are a few of the cases of those who have gained temporally, as well as spiritually, through our work: —
Mrs. W.—Of Haggerston Slum. Heavy drinker, wrecked home, husband a drunkard, place dirty and filthy, terribly poor. Saved now over two years, home A1., plenty of employment at cane-chair bottoming; husband now saved also.
Mrs. R.—Drury Lane Slum. Husband and wife, drunkards; husband very lazy, only worked when starved in to it. We found them both out of work, home furnitureless, in debt. She got saved, and our lasses prayed for him to get work. He did so, and went to it. He fell out again a few weeks after, and beat his wife. She sought employment at charing and office cleaning, got it, and has been regularly at work since. He too got work. He is now a teetotaler. The home is very comfortable now, and they are putting money in the bank.
A.M. in the Dials. Was a great drunkard, thriftless, did not go to the trouble of seeking work. Was in a Slum meeting, heard the Captain speak on "Seek first the Kingdom of God!" called out and said, "Do you mean that if I ask God for work, He will give it me?" Of course she said, "Yes." He was converted that night, found work, and is now employed in the Gas Works, Old Kent Road.
Jimmy is a soldier in the Boro' Slum! Was starving when he got converted through being out of work. Through joining the Army, he was turned out of his home. He found work, and now owns a coffee-stall in Billingsgate Market, and is doing well.
Sergeant R.—Of Marylebone Slum. Used to drink, lived in a wretched place in the famous Charles Street, had work at two places, at one of which he got 5s. a week and the other 10s., when he got saved; this was starvation wages, on which to keep himself, his wife, and four children. At the 10s. a week work he had to deliver drink for a spirit merchant; feeling condemned over it, he gave it up, and was out of work for weeks. The brokers were put in, but the Lord rescued him just in time. The 5s. a week employer took him afterwards at 18s., and he is now earning 22s., and has left the ground-floor slum tenement for a better house.
H.—Nine Elms Slum. Was saved on Easter Monday, out of work several weeks before, is a labourer, seems very earnest, in terrible distress. We allow his wife 2s. 6d. a week for cleaning the hall (to help them). In addition to that, she gets another 2s. 6d. for nursing, and on that husband, wife, and a couple of children pay the rent of 2s. a week and drag out an existence. I have tried to get work for this man, but have failed.
T.—Of Rotherhithe Slum. Was a great drunkard, is a carpenter; saved about nine months ago, but, having to work in a public-house on a Sunday, he gave it up; he has not been able to get another job, and has nothing but what we have given him for making seats.
Emma Y.—Now a Soldier of the Marylebone Slum Post, was a wild young Slummer when we opened in the Boro'; could be generally seen in the streets, wretchedly clad, her sleeves turned up, idle, only worked occasionally, got saved two years ago, had terrible persecution in her home. We got her a situation, where she has been for nearly eighteen months, and is now a good servant.
Lodging-House Frank.—At twenty-one came into the possession of #750, but, through drink and gambling, lost it all in six or eight months, and for over seven years he has tramped about from Portsmouth, through the South of England, and South Wales, from one lodging-house to another, often starving, drinking when he could get any money; thriftless, idle, no heart for work. We found him in a lodging-house six months ago, living with a fallen girl; got them both saved and married; five weeks after he got work as a carpenter at 30s. a week. He has a home of his own now, and promises well to make an officer.
The Officer who furnishes the above reports goes on to say: —
I can't call the wretched dwelling home, to which drink had brought Brother and Sister X. From a life of luxury, they drifted down by degrees to one room in a Slum tenement, surrounded by drunkards and the vilest characters. Their lovely half-starved children were compelled to listen to the foulest language, and hear fighting and quarrelling, and alas, alas, not only to hear it in the adjoining rooms, but witness it within their own. For over two years they have been delivered from the power of the cursed drink. The old rookery is gone, and now they have a comfortably-furnished home. Their children give evidence of being truly converted, and have a lively gratitude for their father's salvation. One boy of eight said, last Christmas Day, "I remember when we had only dry bread for Christmas; but to-day we had a goose and two plum-puddings." Brother X. was dismissed in disgrace from his situation as commercial traveller before his conversion; to-day he is chief man, next to his employer, in a large business house.
He says: —
I and perfectly satisfied that very few of the lowest strata of Society are unwilling to work if they could get it. The wretched hand-to-mouth existence many of them have to live disheartens them, and makes life with them either a feast or a famine, and drives those who have brains enough to crime.
The results of our work in the Slums may be put down as: —
1st. A marked improvement in the cleanliness of the homes and children; disappearance of vermin, and a considerable lessening of drunkenness.
2nd. A greater respect for true religion, and especially that of the Salvation Army.
3rd. A much larger amount of work is being done now than before our going there.
4th. The rescue of many fallen girls.
5th. The Shelter work seems to us a development of the Slum work.
In connection with our Scheme, we propose to immediately increase the numbers of these Slum Sisters, and to add to their usefulness by directly connecting their operations with the Colony, enabling them thereby to help the poor people to conditions of life more favourable to health, morals, and religion. This would be accomplished by getting some of them employment in the City, which must necessarily result in better homes and surroundings, or in the opening up for others of a straight course from the Slums to the Farm Colony.
SECTION 2.—THE TRAVELLING HOSPITAL.
Of course, there is only one real remedy for this state of things, and that is to take the people away from the wretched hovels in which they sicken, suffer, and die, with less comfort and consideration than the cattle in the stalls and styes of many a country Squire. And this is certainly our ultimate ambition, but for the present distress something might be done on the lines of district nursing, which is only in very imperfect operation.
I have been thinking that if a little Van, drawn by a pony, could be fitted up with what is ordinarily required by the sick and dying, and trot round amongst these abodes of desolation, with a couple of nurses trained for the business, it might be of immense service, without being very costly. They could have a few simple instruments, so as to draw a tooth or lance an abscess, and what was absolutely requisite for simple surgical operations. A little oil-stove for hot water to prepare a poultice, or a hot foment, or a soap wash, and a number of other necessaries for nursing, could be carried with ease.
The need for this will only be appreciated by those who know how utterly bereft of all the comforts and conveniences for attending to the smallest matters in sickness which prevails in these abodes of wretchedness. It may be suggested, why don't the people when they are ill go to the hospital? To which we simply reply that they won't. They cling to their own bits of rooms and to the companionship of the members of their own families, brutal as they often are, and would rather stay and suffer, and die in the midst of all the filth and squalor that surrounds them in their own dens, than go to the big house, which, to them, looks very like a prison.
The sufferings of the wretched occupants of the Slums that we have been describing, when sick and unable to help themselves, makes the organisation of some system of nursing them in their own homes a Christian duty. Here are a handful of cases, gleaned almost at random from the reports of our Slum Sisters, which will show the value of the agency above described: —
Many of those who are sick have often only one room, and often several children. The Officers come across many cases where, with no one to look after them, they have to lie for hours without food or nourishment of any kind. Sometimes the neighbours will take them in a cup of tea. It is really a mystery how they live.
A poor woman in Drury Lane was paralyzed. She had no one to attend to her; she lay on the floor, on a stuffed sack, and an old piece of cloth to cover her. Although it was winter, she very seldom had any fire. She had no garments to wear, and but very little to eat.
Another poor woman, who was very ill, was allowed a little money by her daughter to pay her rent and get her food; but very frequently she had not the strength to light a fire or to get herself food. She was parted from her husband because of his cruelty. Often she lay for hours without a soul to visit or help her.
Adjutant McClellan found a man lying on a straw mattress in a very bad condition. The room was filthy; the smell made the Officer feel ill. The man had been lying for days without having anything done for him. A cup of water was by his side. The Officers vomited from the terrible smells of this place. Frequently sick people are found who need the continual application of hot poultices, but who are left with a cold one for hours.
In Marylebone the Officers visited a poor old woman who was very ill. She lived in an underground back kitchen, with hardly a ray of light and never a ray of sunshine. Her bed was made up on some egg boxes. She had no one to look after her, except a drunken daughter, who very often, when drunk, used to knock the poor old woman about very badly. The Officers frequently found that she had not eaten any food up to twelve o'clock, not even a cup of tea to drink. The only furniture in the room was a small table, an old fender, and a box. The vermin seemed to be innumerable.
A poor woman was taken very ill, but, having a small family, she felt she must get up and wash them. While she was washing the baby she fell down and was unable to move. Fortunately a neighbour came in soon after to ask some question, and saw her lying there. She at once ran and fetched another neighbour. Thinking the poor woman was dead, they got her into bed and sent for a doctor. He said she was in consumption and required quiet and nourishment. This the poor woman could not get, on account of her children. She got up a few hours afterwards. As she was going downstairs she fell down again. The neighbour picked her up and put her back to bed, where for a long time she lay thoroughly prostrated. The Officers took her case in hand, fed, and nursed her, cleaned her room and generally looked after her.
In another dark slum the Officers found a poor old woman in an underground back kitchen. She was suffering with some complaint. When they knocked at the door she was terrified for fear it was the landlord. The room was in a most filthy condition, never having been cleaned. She had a penny paraffin lamp which filled the room with smoke. The old woman was at times totally unable to do anything for herself. The Officers looked after her.
SECTION 3. REGENERATlON OF OUR CRIMINALS.—THE PRISON GATE BRIGADE
Our Prisons ought to be reforming institutions, which should turn men out better than when they entered their doors. As a matter of fact they are often quite the reverse. There are few persons in this world more to be pitied than the poor fellow who has served his first term of imprisonment or finds himself outside the gaol doors without a character, and often without a friend in the world. Here, again, the process of centralization, gone on apace of late years, however desirable it maybe in the interests of administration, tells with disastrous effects on the poor wretches who are its victims.
In the old times, when a man was sent to prison, the gaol stood within a stone's throw of his home. When he came out he was at any rate close to his old friends and relations, who would take him in and give him a helping hand to start once more a new life. But what has happened owing to the desire of the Government to do away with as many local gaols as possible? The prisoners, when convicted, are sent long distances by rail to the central prisons, and on coming out find themselves cursed with the brand of the gaol bird, so far from home, character gone, and with no one to fall back upon for counsel, or to give them a helping hand. No wonder it is reported that vagrancy has much increased in some large towns on account of discharged prisoners taking to begging, having no other resource.
In the competition for work no employer is likely to take a man who is fresh from gaol; nor are mistresses likely to engage a servant whose last character was her discharge from one of Her Majesty's prisons. It is incredible how much mischief is often done by well-meaning persons, who, in struggling towards the attainment of an excellent end —such, for instance, as that of economy and efficiency in prison administration—forget entirely the bearing which their reforms may have upon the prisoners themselves.
The Salvation Army has at least one great qualification for dealing with this question I believe I am in the proud position of being at the head of the only religious body which has always some of its members in gaol for conscience' sake. We are also one of the few religious bodies which can boast that many of those who are in our ranks have gone through terms of penal servitude. We, therefore, know the prison at both ends. Some men go to gaol because they are better than their neighbours, most men because they are worse. Martyrs, patriots, reformers of all kinds belong to the first category. No great cause has ever achieved a triumph before it has furnished a certain quota to the prison population. The repeal of an unjust law is seldom carried until a certain number of those who are labouring for the reform have experienced in their own persons the hardships of fine and imprisonment. Christianity itself would never have triumphed over the Paganism of ancient Rome had the early Christians not been enabled to testify from the dungeon and the arena as to the sincerity and serenity of soul with which they could confront their persecutors, and from that time down to the successful struggles of our people for the right of public meeting at Whitchurch and elsewhere, the Christian religion and the liberties of men have never failed to demand their quota of martyrs for the faith.
When a man has been to prison in the best of causes he learns to look at the question of prison discipline with a much more sympathetic eye for those who are sent there, even for the worst offences, than judges and legislators who only look at the prison from the outside. "A fellow-feeling makes one wondrous kind," and it is an immense advantage to us in dealing with the criminal classes that many of our best Officers have themselves been in a prison cell. Our people, thank God, have never learnt to regard a prisoner as a mere convict—A 234. He is ever a human being to them, who is to be cared for and looked after as a mother looks after her ailing child. At present there seems to be but little likelihood of any real reform in the interior of our prisons. We have therefore to wait until the men come outside, in order to see what, can be done. Our work begins when that of the prison authorities ceases. We have already had a good deal of experience in this work, both here and in Bombay, in Ceylon, in South Africa, in Australia and elsewhere, and as the nett result of our experience we proceed now to set forth the measures we intend to adopt, some of which are already in successful operation.
1. We propose the opening of Homes for this class as near as possible to the different gaols. One for men has just been taken at King's Cross, and will be occupied as soon as it can be got ready. One for women must follow immediately. Others will be required in different parts of the Metropolis, and contiguous to each of its great prisons. Connected with these Homes will be workshops in which the inmates will be regularly employed until such time as we can get them work elsewhere. For this class must also work, not only as a discipline, but as the means for their own support.
2. In order to save, as far as possible, first offenders from the contamination of prison life, and to prevent the formation of further evil companionships, and the recklessness which follows the loss of character entailed by imprisonment, we would offer, in the Police and Criminal Courts, to take such offenders under our wing as were anxious to come and willing to accept our regulations. The confidence of both magistrates and prisoners would, we think, soon be secured, the friends of the latter would be mostly on our side, and the probability, therefore, is that we should soon have a large number of cases placed under our care on what is known as "suspended sentence," to be brought up for judgment when called upon, the record of each sentence to be wiped out on report being favourable of their conduct in the Salvation Army Home.
3. We should seek access to the prisons in order to gain such acquaintance with the prisoners as would enable us the more effectually to benefit them on their discharge. This privilege, we think, would be accorded us by the prison authorities when they became acquainted with the nature of our work and the remarkable results which followed it. The right of entry into the gaols has already been conceded to our people in Australia, where they have free access to, and communion with, the inmates while under going their sentences. Prisoners are recommended to come to us by the gaol authorities, who also forward to our people information of the date and hour when they leave, in order that they may be met on their release,
4. We propose to meet the criminals at the prison gates with the offer of immediate admission to our Homes. The general rule is for them to be met by their friends or old associates, who ordinarily belong to the same class. Any way, it would be an exception to the rule were they not all alike believers in the comforting and cheering power of the intoxicating cup. Hence the public-house is invariably adjourned to, where plans for further crime are often decided upon straight away, resulting frequently, before many weeks are past, in the return of the liberated convict to the confinement from which he has just escaped. Having been accustomed during confinement to the implicit submission of themselves to the will of another, the newly-discharged prisoner is easily influenced by whoever first gets hold of him. Now, we propose to be beforehand with these old companions by taking the gaol-bird under our wing and setting before him an open door of hope the moment he crosses the threshold of the prison, assuring him that if he is willing to work and comply with our discipline, he never need know want any more.
5. We shall seek from the authorities the privilege of supervising and reporting upon those who are discharged with tickets-of-leave, so as to free them from the humiliating and harassing duty of having to report themselves at the police stations.
6. We shall find suitable employment for each individual. If not in possession of some useful trade or calling we will teach him one.
7. After a certain length of residence in these Homes, if consistent evidence is given of a sincere purpose to live an honest life, he will be transferred to the Farm Colony, unless in the meanwhile friends or old employers take him off our hands, or some other form of occupation is obtained, in which case he will still be the object of watchful care.
We shall offer to all the ultimate possibility of being restored to Society in this country, or transferred to commence life afresh in another
With respect to results we can speak very positively, for although our operations up to the present, except for a short time some three years ago, have been limited, and unassisted by the important accessories above described, yet the success that has at tended them has been most remarkable. The following are a few instances which might be multiplied: —
J. W. was met at prison gate by the Captain of the Home and offered help. He declined to come at once as he had friends in Scotland who he thought would help him; but if they failed, he promised to come. It was his first conviction, and he had six months for robbing his employer. His trade was that of a baker. In a few days he presented himself at the Home, and was received. In the course of a few weeks, he professed conversion, and gave every evidence of the change. For four months he was cook and baker in the kitchen, and at last a situation as second hand was offered for him, with the [sic]
J. S. Sergeant-major of the Congress Hall Corps. That is three years ago. He is there to-day, saved, and satisfactory; a thoroughly useful and respectable man.
J. P. was an old offender. He was met at Millbank on the expiration of his last term (five years), and brought to the Home, where he worked at his trade a tailor. Eventually he got a situation, and has since married. He has now a good home, the confidence of his neighbours, is well saved, and a soldier of the Hackney Corps.
C. M. Old offender, and penal servitude case. Was induced to come to the Home, got saved, was there for a long period, offered for the work, and went into the Field, was Lieutenant for two years, and eventually married. He is now a respectable mechanic and soldier of a Corps in Derbyshire.
J. W. Was manager in a large West End millinery establishment. He was sent out with two ten-pound packages of silver to change. On his way he met a companion and was induced to take a drink. In the tavern the companion made an excuse to go outside and did not return, and W. found one of the packages had been abstracted from his outside pocket. He was afraid to return, and decamped with the other into the country. Whilst in a small town he strolled into a Mission Hall; there happened to be a hitch in the proceedings, the organist was absent, a volunteer was called for, and W., being a good musician, offered to play. It seems the music took hold of him. In the middle of the hymn he walked out and went to the police station and gave himself up. He got six months. When he came out, he saw that Happy George, an ex-gaol bird, was announced at the Congress Hall. He went to the meeting and was induced to come to the Home. He eventually got saved, and to-day he is at the head of a Mission work in the provinces.
"Old Dan" was a penal servitude case, and had had several long sentences. He came into the Home and was saved. He managed the bootmaking there for a long time. He has since gone into business at Hackney, and is married. He is of four years' standing, a thorough respectable tradesman, and a Salvationist.
Charles C. has done in the aggregate twenty-three years' penal servitude. Was out on licence, and got saved at the Hull Barracks. At that time he had neglected to report himself, and had destroyed his licence, taking an assumed name. When he got saved he gave himself up, and was taken before the magistrate, who, instead of sending him back to fulfil his sentence, gave him up to the Army. He was sent to us from Hull by our representative, is now in our factory and doing well. He is still under police supervision for five years.
H. Kelso. Also a licence man. He had neglected to report himself, and was arrested. While before the magistrate he said he was tired of dishonesty, and would go to the Salvation Army if they would discharge him. He was sent back to penal servitude. Application was made by us to the Home Secretary on his behalf, and Mr. Matthews granted his release. He was handed over to our Officers at Bristol, brought to London, and is now in the Factory, saved and doing well.
E. W. belongs to Birmingham, is in his forty-ninth year, and has been in and out of prison all his life. He was at Redhill Reformatory five years, and his last term was five years' penal servitude. The Chaplain at Pentonville advised him it he really meant reformation to seek the Salvation Army on his release. He came to Thames Street, was sent to the Workshop and professed salvation the following Sunday at the Shelter. This is three months ago. He is quite satisfactory, industrious, contented and seemingly godly.
A. B., Gentleman loafer, good prospects, drink and idleness broke up his home, killed his wife, and got him into gaol. Presbyterian minister, friend of his family, tried to reclaim him, but unsuccessfully. He entered the Prison Gate Home, became thoroughly saved, distributed handbills for the Home, and ultimately got work in a large printing and publishing works, where, after three years' service, he now occupies a most responsible position. Is an elder in the Presbyterian Church, restored to his family, and the possessor of a happy home.
W. C., a native of London, a good-for-nothing lad, idle and dissolute. When leaving England his father warned him that if he didn't alter he'd end his days on the gallows. Served various sentences on all sorts of charges. Over six years ago we took him in hand, admitted him into Prison Gate Brigade Home, where he became truly saved; he got a job of painting, which he had learnt in gaol, and has married a woman who had formerly been a procuress, but had passed through our Rescued Sinners' Home, and there became thoroughly converted. Together they have braved the storms of life, both working diligently for their living. They have now a happy little home of their own, and are doing very well.
F. X., the son of a Government officer, a drunkard, gambler, forger, and all-round blackguard; served numerous sentences for forgery. On his last discharge was admitted into Prison Gate Brigade Home, where he stayed about five months and became truly saved. Although his health was completely shattered from the effects of his sinful life, he steadfastly resisted all temptations to drink, and kept true to God. Through advertising in the War Cry, he found his lost son and daughter, who are delighted with the wonderful change in their father. They have become regular attendants at our meetings in the Temperance Hall. He now keeps a coffee-stall, is doing well, and properly saved.
G. A., 72, spent 23 years in gaol, last sentence two years for burglary; was a drunkard, gambler, and swearer. Met on his discharge by the Prison Gate Brigade, admitted into Home, where he remained four months, and became truly saved. He is living a consistent, godly life, and is in employment.
C. D., aged 64, opium-smoker, gambler, blackguard, separated from wife and family, and eventually landed in gaol, was met on his discharge and admitted into Prison Gate Brigade Home, was saved, and is now restored to his wife and family, and giving satisfaction in his employment.
S. T. was an idle, loafing, thieving, swearing, disreputable young man, who lived, when out of gaol, with the low prostitutes of Little Bourke Street. Was taken in hand by our Prison Gate Brigade Officers, who got him saved, then found him work. After a few months he expressed a desire to work for God, and although a cripple, and having to use a crutch, such was his earnestness that he was accepted and has done good service as an Army officer. His testimony is good and his life consistent. He is, indeed, a marvel of Divine grace.
M. J., a young man holding a high position in England, got into a fast set; thought a change to the Colonies would be to his advantage. Started for Australia with #200 odd, of which he spent a good portion on board ship in drink, soon dissipated the balance on landing, and woke up one morning to find himself in gaol, with delirium tremens on him, no money, his luggage lost, and without a friend on the whole continent. On his discharge he entered our Prison Gate Home, became converted, and is now occupying a responsible position in a Colonial Bank.
B. C., a man of good birth, education, and position; drank himself out of home and friends and into gaol on leaving which he came to our Home; was saved, exhibiting by an earnest and truly consistent life the depth of his conversion, being made instrumental while with us in the salvation of many who, like himself, had come to utter destitution and crime through drink. He is now in a first-class situation, getting #300 a year, wife and family restored, the possessor of a happy home, and the love of God shed abroad in it.
I do not produce these samples, which are but a few, taken at random from the many, for the purpose of boasting. The power which has wrought these miracles is not in me nor in my Officers; it is power which comes down from above. But I think I may fairly point to these cases, in which our instrumentality has been blessed, to the plucking of these brands from the burning, as affording some justification for the plea to be enabled to go on with this work on a much more extended scale. If any other organisation, religious or secular, can show similar trophies as the result of such limited operations as ours have hitherto been among the criminal population, I am willing to give place to them. All that I want is to have the work done.
SECTION 4.—EFFECTUAL DELIVERANCE FOR THE DRUNKARD.
The number, misery, and hopeless condition of the slaves of strong drink, of both sexes, have been already dealt with at considerable length.
We have seen that there are in Great Britain one million of men and women, or thereabouts, completely under the domination of this cruel appetite. The utter helplessness of Society to deal with the drunkard has been proved again and again, and confessed on all hands by those who have had experience on the subject. As we have before said, the general feeling of all those who have tried their hands at this kind of business is one of despair. They think the present race of drunkards must be left to perish, that every species of effort having proved vain, the energies expended in the endeavour to rescue the parents will be laid out to greater advantages upon the children.
There is a great deal of truth in all this. Our own efforts have been successful in a very remarkable degree. Some of the bravest, most devoted, and successful workers in our ranks are men and women who were once the most abject slaves of the intoxicating cup. Instances of this have been given already. We might multiply them by thousands. Still, when compared with the ghastly array which the drunken army presents to-day, those rescued are comparatively few. The great reason for this is the simple fact that the vast majority of those addicted to the cup are its veritable slaves. No amount of reasoning, or earthly or religious considerations, can have any effect upon a man who is so completely under the mastery of this passion that he cannot break away from it, although he sees the most terrible consequences staring him in the face.
The drunkard promises and vows, but promises and vows in vain. Occasionally he will put forth frantic efforts to deliver himself, but only to fall again in the presence of the opportunity. The insatiable crave controls him. He cannot get away from it. It compels him to drink, whether he will or not, and, unless delivered by an Almighty hand, he will drink himself into a drunkard's grave and a drunkard's hell.
Our annals team with successful rescues effected from the ranks of the drunken army. The following will not only be examples of this, but will tend to illustrate the strength and madness of the passion which masters the slave to strong drink.
Barbara.—She had sunk about as low as any woman could when we found her. From the age of eighteen, when her parents had forced her to throw over her sailor sweetheart and marry a man with "good prospects," she had been going steadily down.
She did not love her husband, and soon sought comfort from the little public-house only a few steps from her own door. Quarrels in her home quickly gave place to fighting, angry curses, and oaths, and soon her life became one of the most wretched in the place. Her husband made no pretence of caring for her, and when she was ill and unable to earn money by selling fish in the streets, he would go off for a few months, leaving her to keep the house and support herself and babies as best she could. Out of her twenty years of married life, ten were spent in these on-and-off separations. And so she got to live for only one thing—drink. It was life to her; and the mad craving grew to be irresistible. The woman who looked after her at the birth of her child refused to fetch her whisky, so when she had done all she could and left the mother to rest, Barbara crept out of bed and crawled slowly down the stairs over the way to the tap-room, where she sat drinking with the baby, not yet an hour old, in her arms. So things went on, until her life got so unbearable that she determined to have done with it. Taking her two eldest children with her, she went down to the bay, and deliberately threw them both into the water, jumping in herself after them. "Oh, mither, mither, dinna droon me!" wailed her little three-year-old Sarah, but she was determined and held them under the water, till, seeing a boat put out to the rescue she knew that she was discovered. Too late to do it now, she thought, and, holding both children, swam quickly back to the shore. A made-up story about having fallen into the water satisfied the boatman, and Barbara returned home dripping and baffled. But little Sarah did not recover from the shock, and after a few weeks her short life ended, and she was laid in the Cemetery.
Yet another time, goaded to desperation, she tried to take her life by hanging herself, but a neighbour came in and cut her down unconscious, but still living. She became a terror to all the neighbourhood, and her name was the bye-word for daring and desperate actions. But our Open-Air Meetings attracted her, she came to the Barracks, got saved, and was delivered from her love of drink and sin.
From being a dread her home became a sort of house of refuge in the little low street where she lived; other wives as unhappy as herself would come in for advice and help. Anyone knew that Barbie was changed, and loved to do all she could for her neighbours. A few months ago she came up to the Captain's in great distress over a woman who lived just opposite. She had been cruelly kicked and cursed by her husband, who had finally bolted the door against her, and she had turned to Barbie as the only hope. And of course Barbie took her in, with her rough-and-ready kindness got her to bed, kept out the other women who crowded round to sympathise and declaim against the husband's brutality, was both nurse and doctor for the poor woman till her child was born and laid in the mother's arms. And then, to Barbie's distress, she could do no more, for the woman, not daring to be absent longer, got up as best she could, and crawled on hands and knees down the little steep steps, across the street, and back to her own door. "But, Barbie!" exclaimed the Captain, horrified, "you should have nursed her, and kept her until she was strong enough." But Barbie answered by reminding the Captain of "John's" fearful temper, and how it might cost the woman her life to be absent from her home more than a couple of hours.
The second is the case of—
Maggie.—She had a home, but seldom was sober enough to reach it at nights. She would fall down on the doorsteps until found by some passer-by or a policeman.
In one of her mad freaks a boon-companion happened to offend her. He was a little hunch-back, and a fellow-drunkard; but without a moment's hesitation, Maggie seized him and pushed him head-foremost down the old-fashioned wide sewer of the Scotch town. Had not some one seen his heel's kicking out and rescued him, he would surley have been suffocated.
One winter's night Maggie had been drinking heavily, fighting, too, as usual, and she staggered only as far, on her way home, as the narrow chain-pier. Here she stumbled and fell, and lay along on the snow, the blood oozing from her cuts, and her hair spread out in a tangled mass.
At 5 in the morning, some factory girls, crossing the bridge to their work, came upon her, lying stiff and stark amidst the snow and darkness.
To rouse her from her drunken sleep was hard, but to raise her from the ground was still harder. The matted hair and blood had frozen fast to the earth, and Maggie was a prisoner. After trying to free her in different ways, and receiving as a reward volleys of abuse and bad language, one of the girl's ran for a kettle of boiling water, and by pouring it all around her, they succeeded by degrees in melting her on to her feet again! But she came to our Barracks, and got soundly converted, and the Captain was rewarded for nights and days of toil by seeing her a saved and sober woman.
All went right till a friend asked her to his house, to drink his health, and that of his newly-married wife. "I wouldn't ask you to take anything strong," he said. "Drink to me with this lemonade." And Maggie, nothing suspecting, drank, and as she drank tasted in the glass her old enemy, whisky! The man laughed at her dismay, but a friend rushed off to tell the Captain. "I may be in time, she has not really gone back"; and the Captain ran to the house, tying her bonnet strings as she ran. "It's no good—keep awa'—I don't want to see'er, Captain," wailed Maggie "let me have some more—oh, I'm on fire inside." But the Captain was firm, and taking her to her home, she locked herself in with the woman, and sat with the key in her pocket, while Maggie, half mad with craving, paced the floor like a caged animal, threatening and entreating by terms. "Never while I live," was all the answer she could get; so she turned to the door, and busied herself there a moment or two. A clinking noise. The Captain started up—to see the door open and Maggie rush through it! Accustomed to stealing and all its "dodges," she had taken the lock off the door, and was away to the nearest public-house.
Down the stairs, Captain after her, into the gin palace; but before the astonished publican could give her the drink she was clamouring for, the "bonnet" was by her side, "If you dare to serve her, I'll break the glass before it reaches her lips. She shall not have any!" and so Maggie was coaxed away, and shielded till the passion was over, and she was Herself once more.
But the man who gave her the whisky durst not leave his house for weeks. The roughs got to know of the trap he had laid for her, and would have lynched him could they have got hold of him.
The third is the case of Rose.
Rose was ruined, deserted, and left to the streets when only a girl of thirteen, by a once well-to-do man, who is now, we believe, closing his days in a workhouse in the North of England.
Fatherless, motherless, and you might almost say friendless, Rose trod the broad way to destruction, with all its misery and shame, for twelve long years. Her wild, passionate nature, writhing under the wrong suffered, sought forgetfulness in the intoxicating cup, and she soon became a notorious drunkard. Seventy-four times during her career she was dragged before the magistrates, and seventy-four times, with one exception, she was punished, but the seventy-fourth time she was as far off reformation as ever. The one exception happened on the Queen's Jubilee Day. On seeing her well-known face again before him, the magistrate enquired, "How many times has this woman been here before?"
The Police Superintendent answered, "Fifty times." The magistrate remarked, in somewhat grim humour, "Then this is her Jubilee," and, moved by the coincidence, he let her go free. So Rose spent her jubilee out of prison.
It is a wonder that the dreadful, drunken, reckless, dissipated life she lived did not hurry her to an early grave; it did affect her reason, and for three weeks she was locked up in Lancaster Lunatic Asylum, having really gone mad through drink and sin.
In evidence of her reckless nature, it is said that after her second imprisonment she vowed she would never again walk to the police station; consequently, when in her wild orgies the police found it necessary to arrest her, they had to get her to the police station as best they could, sometimes by requisitioning a wheelbarrow or a cart, or the use of a stretcher, and sometimes they had to carry her right out. On one occasion, towards the close of her career, when driven to the last-named method, four policemen were carrying her to the station, and she was extra violent, screaming, plunging and biting, when, either by accident or design, one of the policemen let go of her head, and it came in contact with the curbstone, causing the blood to pour forth in a stream. As soon as they placed her in the cell the poor creature caught the blood in her hands, and literally washed her face with it. On the following morning she presented a pitiable sight, and before taking her into the court the police wanted to wash her, but she declared she would draw any man's blood who attempted to put a finger upon her; they had spilt her blood, and she would carry it into the court as a witness against them. On coming out of gaol for the last time, she met with a few Salvationists beating the drum and singing "Oh! the Lamb, the bleeding Lamb; He was found worthy." Rose, struck with the song, and impressed with the very faces of the people, followed them, saying to herself, "I never before heard anything like that, or seen such happy looking people." She came into the Barracks; her heart was broken; she found her way to the Penitent Form, and Christ, with His own precious blood, washed her sins away. She arose from her knees and said to the Captain, "It is all right now."
Three months after her conversion a great meeting was held in the largest hall in the town, where she was known to almost every inhabitant. There were about three thousand people present. Rose was called upon to give her testimony to the power of God to save. A more enthusiastic wave of sympathy never greeted any speaker than that which met her from that crowd, every one of whom was familiar with her past history. After a few broken words, in which she spoke of the wonderful change that had taken place, a cousin, who, like herself, had lived a notoriously evil life, came to the Cross.
Rose is now War Cry sergeant. She goes into the brothels and gin palaces and other haunts of vice, from which she was rescued, and sells more papers than any other Soldier.
The Superintendent of Police, soon after her conversion, told the Captain at the Corps that in rescuing Rose a more wonderful work had been done than he had seen in all the years gone by.
S. was a native of Lancashire, the son of poor, but pious, parents. He was saved when sixteen years of age. He was first an Evangelist, then a City Missionary for five or six years, and afterwards a Baptist Minister. He then fell under the influence of drink, resigned, and became a commercial traveller, but lost his berth through drink. He was then an insurance agent, and rose to be superintendent, but was again dismissed through drink. During his drunken career he had delirium tremens four times, attempted suicide three times, sold up six homes, was in the workhouse with his wife and family three times. His last contrivance for getting drink was to preach mock sermons, and offer mock prayers in the tap-rooms.
After one of these blasphemous performances in a public-house, on the words, "Are you Saved?" he was challenged to go to the Salvation Barracks. He went, and the Captain, who knew him well, at once made for him, to plead for his soul, but S. knocked him down, and rushed back to the public-house for more drink. He was, however, so moved by what he had heard that he was unable to raise the liquor to his mouth, although he made three attempts. He again returned to the meeting, and again quitted it for the public-house. He could not rest, and for the third time he returned to the Barracks. As he entered the last time the Soldiers were singing: —
"Depth of mercy, can there be Mercy still reserved for me? Can my God his wrath forbear? Me, the chief of Sinners, spare?
This song impressed him still further; he wept, and remained in the Barracks under deep conviction until midnight. He was drunk all the next day, vainly trying to drown his convictions. The Captain visited him at night, but was quickly thrust out of the house. He was there again next morning, and prayed and talked with S. for nearly two hours. Poor S. was in despair. He persisted that there was no mercy for him. After a long struggle, however, hope sprung up, he fell upon his knees, confessed his sins, and obtained forgiveness.
When this happened, his furniture consisted of a soap-box for a table, and starch boxes for chairs. His wife, himself, and three children, had not slept in a bed for three years. He has now a happy family, a comfortable home, and has been the means of leading numbers of other slaves of sin to the Saviour, and to a truly happy life.
Similar cases, describing the deliverance of drunkards from the bondage of strong drink, could be produced indefinitely. There are Officers marching in our ranks to-day, who where once gripped by this fiendish fascination, who have had their fetters broken, and are now free men in the Army. Still the mighty torrent of Alcohol, fed by ten thousand manufactories, sweeps on, bearing with it, I have no hesitation in saying, the foulest, bloodiest tide that ever flowed from earth to eternity. The Church of the living God ought not—and to say nothing about religion, the people who have any humanity ought not, to rest without doing something desperate to rescue this half of a million who are in the eddying maelstrom. We purpose, therefore, the taking away of the people from the temptation which they cannot resist. We would to God that the temptation could be taken away from them, that every house licensed to send forth the black streams of bitter death were closed, and closed for ever. But this will not be, we fear, for the present at least.
While in one case drunkenness may be resolved into a habit, in another it must be accounted a disease. What is wanted in the one case, therefore, is some method of removing the man out of the sphere of the temptation, and in the other for treating the passion as a disease, as we should any other physical affection, bringing to bear upon it every agency, hygienic and otherwise, calculated to effect a cure.
The Dalrymple Homes, in which, on the order of a magistrate and by their own consent, Inebriates can be confined for a time, have been a partial success in dealing with this class in both these respects; but they are admittedly too expensive to be of any service to the poor. It could never be hoped that working people of themselves, or with the assistance of their friends, would be able to pay two pounds a week for the privilege of being removed away from the licensed temptations to drink which surround them at every step. Moreover, could they obtain admission they would feel themselves anything but at ease amongst the class who avail themselves of these institutions. We propose to establish Homes which will contemplate the deliverance, not of ones and twos, but of multitudes, and which will be accessible to the poor, or to persons of any class choosing to use them. This is our national vice, and it demands nothing short of a national remedy—anyway, one of proportions large enough to be counted national.
1. To begin with, there will be City Homes, into which a man can be taken, watched over, kept out of the way of temptation, and if possible delivered from the power of this dreadful habit.
In some cases persons would be taken in who are engaged in business in the City in the day, being accompanied by an attendant to and from the Home. In this case, of course, adequate remuneration for this extra care would be required.
2. Country Homes, which we shall conduct on the Dalrymple principle; that is, taking persons for compulsory confinement, they binding themselves by a bond confirmed by a magistrate that they would remain for a certain period. The general regulations for both establishments would be something as follows: —
(1). There would be only one class in each establishment. If it was found that the rich and the poor did not work comfortably together, separate institutions must be provided. (2). All would alike have to engage in some remunerative form of employment. Outdoor work would be preferred, but indoor employment would be arranged for those for whom it was most suitable, and in such weather and at such times of the year when garden work was impracticable. (3). A charge of 10s. per week would be made. This could be remitted when there was no ability to pay it.
The usefulness of such Homes is too evident to need any discussion. There is one class of unfortunate creatures who must be objects of pity to all who have any knowledge of their existence, and that is, those men and women who are being continually dragged before the magistrates, of whom we are constantly reading in the police reports, whose lives are spent in and out of prison, at an enormous cost to the country, and without any benefit to themselves.
We should then be able to deal with this class. It would be possible for a magistrate, instead of sentencing the poor wrecks of humanity to the sixty-fourth and one hundred and twentieth term of imprisonment, to send them to this Institution, by simply remanding them to come up for sentence when called for. How much cheaper such an arrangement would be for the country!
SECTION 5.—A NEW WAY OF ESCAPE FOR LOST WOMEN. THE RESCUE HOMES.
Perhaps there is no evil more destructive of the best interests of Society, or confessedly more difficult to deal with remedially, than that which is known as the Social Evil. We have already seen something of the extent to which this terrible scourge has grown, and the alarming manner in which it affects our modern civilisation.
We have already made an attempt at grappling with this evil, having about thirteen Homes in Great Britain, accommodating 307 girls under the charge of 132 Officers, together with seventeen Homes abroad, open for the same purpose. The whole, although a small affair compared with the vastness of the necessity, nevertheless constitutes perhaps the largest and most efficient effort of its character in the world.
It is difficult to estimate the results that have been already realised. By our varied operations, apart from these Homes, probably hundreds, if not thousands, have been delivered from lives of shame and misery. We have no exact return of the number who have gone through the Homes abroad, but in connection with the work in this country, about 3,000 have been rescued, and are living lives of virtue.
This success has not only been gratifying on account of the blessing it has brought these young women, the gladness it has introduced to the homes to which they have been restored, and the benefit it has bestowed upon Society, but because it has assured us that much greater results of the same character may be realised by operations conducted on a larger scale, and under more favourable circumstances.
With this view we propose to remodel and greatly increase the number of our Homes both in London and the provinces, establishing one in every great centre of this infamous traffic.
To make them very largely Receiving Houses, where the girls will be initiated into the system of reformation, tested as to the reality of their desires for deliverance, and started forward on the highway of truth, virtue, and religion.
From these Homes large numbers, as at present, would be restored to their friends and relatives, while some would be detained in training for domestic service, and others passed on to the Farm Colony.
On the Farm they would be engaged in various occupations. In the Factory, at Bookbinding and Weaving; in the Garden and Glasshouses amongst fruit and flowers; in the Dairy, making butter; in all cases going through a course of House-work which will fit them for domestic service.
At every stage the same process of moral and religious training, on which we specially rely, will be carried forward.
There would probably be a considerable amount of inter-marriage amongst the Colonists, and in this way a number of these girl's would be absorbed into Society.
A large number would be sent abroad as domestic servants. In Canada, the girls are taken out of the Rescue Homes as servants, with no other reference than is gained by a few weeks' residence there, and are paid as much as #3 a month wages. The scarcity of domestic servants in the Australian Colonies, Western States of America, Africa, and elsewhere is well known. And we have no doubt that on all hands our girls with 12 months' character will be welcomed, the question of outfit and passage-money being easily arranged for by the persons requiring their services advancing the amount, with an understanding that it is to be deducted out of their first earnings.
Then we have the Colony Over-Sea, which will require the service of a large number. Very few families will go out who will not be very glad to take a young woman with them, not as a menial servant, but as a companion and friend.
By this method we should be able to carry out Rescue work on a much larger scale. At present two difficulties very largely block our way. One is the costliness of the work. The expense of rescuing a girl on the present plan cannot be much less than #7; that is, if we include the cost of those with whom we fail, and on whom the money is largely thrown away. Seven pounds is certainly not a very large sum for the measure of benefit bestowed upon the girl by bringing her off the streets, and that which is bestowed on Society by removing her from her evil course. Still, when the work runs into thousands of individuals, the amount required becomes considerable. On the plan proposed we calculate that from the date of their reaching the Farm Colony they will earn nearly all that is required for their support.
The next difficulty which hinders our expansion in this department is the want of suitable and permanent situations, Although we have been marvellously successful so far, having at this hour probably 1,200 girls in domestic service alone, still the difficulty in this respect is great. Families are naturally shy at receiving these poor unfortunates when they can secure the help they need combined with unblemished character; and we cannot blame them.
Then, again, it can easily be understood that the monotony of domestic service in this country is not altogether congenial to the tastes of many of these girls, who have been accustomed to a life of excitement and freedom. This can be easily understood. To be shut up seven days a week with little or no intercourse, either with friends or with the outside world, beyond that which comes of the weekly Church service or "night out" with nowhere to go, as many of them are tied off from the Salvation Army Meetings, becomes very monotonous, and in hours of depression it is not to be wondered at if a few break down in their resolutions, and fall back into their old ways.
On the plan we propose there is something to cheer these girls forward. Life on the farm will be attractive. From there they can go to a new country and begin the world afresh, with the possibility of being married and having a little home of their own some day. With such prospects, we think, they will be much more likely to fight their way through seasons of darkness and temptation than as at present.
This plan will also make the task of rescuing the girls much more agreeable to the Officers engaged in it. They will have this future to dwell upon as an encouragement to persevere with the girls, and will be spared one element at least in the regret they experience, when a girl falls back into old habits, namely, that she earned the principal part of the money that has been expended upon her.
That girls can be rescued and blessedly saved even now, despite all their surroundings, we have many remarkable proofs. Of these take one or two as examples: —
J. W. was brought by our Officers from a neighbourhood which has, by reason of the atrocities perpetrated in it, obtained an unenviable renown, even among similar districts of equally bad character.
She was only nineteen. A country girl. She had begun the struggle for life early as a worker in a large laundry, and at thirteen years of age was led away by an inhuman brute. The first false step taken, her course on the downward road was rapid, and growing restless and anxious for more scope than that afforded in a country town, she came up to London.
For some time she lived the life of extravagance and show, known to many of this class for a short time—having plenty of money, fine clothes, and luxurious surroundings until the terrible disease seized her poor body, and she soon found herself deserted, homeless and friendless, an outcast of Society.
When we found her she was hard and impenitent, difficult to reach even with the hand of love; but love won, and since that time she has been in two or three situations, a consistent Soldier of an Army corps, and a champion War Cry seller.
A TICKET-OF-LEAVE WOMAN.
A. B. was the child of respectable working people—Roman Catholics— but was early left an orphan. She fell in with bad companions, and became addicted to drink, going from bad to worse until drunkenness, robbery, and harlotry brought her to the lowest depths. She passed seven years in prison, and after the last offence was discharged with seven years' police supervision. Failing to report herself, she was brought before the bench.
The magistrate inquired whether she had ever had a chance in a Home of any kind. "She is too old, no one will take her," was the reply, but a Detective present, knowing a little about the Salvation Army, stepped forward and explained to the magistrate th at he did not think the Salvation Army refused any who applied. She was formally handed over to us in a deplorable condition, her clothing the scantiest and dirtiest. For over three years she has given evidence of a genuine reformation, during which time she has industriously earned her own living.
A WILD WOMAN.
In visiting a slum in a town in the North of England, our Officers entered a hole, unfit to be called a human habitation—more like the den of some wild animal—almost the only furniture of which was a filthy iron bedstead, a wooden box to serve for table and chair, while an old tin did duty as a dustbin.
The inhabitant of this wretched den was a poor woman, who fled into the darkest corner of the place as our Officer entered. This poor wretch was the victim of a brutal man, who never allowed her to venture outside the door, keeping her alive by the scantiest allowance of food. Her only clothing consisted of a sack tied round her body. Her feet were bare, her hair matted and foul, presenting on the whole such an object as one could scarcely imagine living in a civilised country.
She had left a respectable home, forsaken her husband and family, and sunk so low that the man who then claimed her boasted to the Officer that he had bettered her condition by taking her off the streets.
We took the poor creature away, washed and clothed her; and, changed in heart and life, she is one more added to the number of those who rise up to bless the Salvation Army workers.
SECTION 6.—A PREVENTIVE HOME FOR UNFALLEN GIRLS WHEN IN DANGER.
There is a story told likely enough to be true about a young girl who applied one evening for admission to some home established for the purpose of rescuing fallen women. The matron naturally inquired whether she had forfeited her virtue; the girl replied in the negative. She had been kept from that infamy, but she was poor and friendless, and wanted somewhere to lay her head until she could secure work, and obtain a home. The matron must have pitied her, but she could not help her as she did not belong to the class for whose benefit the Institution was intended. The girl pleaded, but the matron could not alter the rule, and dare not break it, they were so pressed to find room for their own poor unfortunates, and she could not receive her. The poor girl left the door reluctantly but returned in a very short time, and said, "I am fallen now, will you take me in?"
I am somewhat slow to credit this incident; anyway it is true in spirit, and illustrates the fact that while there are homes to which any poor, ruined, degraded harlot can run for shelter, there is only here and there a corner to which a poor friendless, moneyless, homeless, but unfallen girl can fly for shelter from the storm which bids fair to sweep her away whether she will or no into the deadly vortex of ruin which gapes beneath her.
In London and all our large towns there must be a considerable number of poor girls who from various causes are suddenly plunged into this forlorn condition; a quarrel with the mistress and sudden discharge, a long bout of disease and dismissal penniless from the hospital, a robbery of a purse, having to wait for a situation until the last penny is spent, and many other causes will leave a girl an almost hopeless prey to the linx-eyed villains who are ever watching to take advantage of innocence when in danger. Then, again, what a number there must be in a great city like London who are ever faced with the alternative of being turned out of doors if they refuse to submit themselves to the infamous overtures of those around them. I understand that the Society for the Protection of Children prosecuted last year a fabulous number of fathers for unnatural sins with their children. If so many were brought to justice, how many were there of whom the world never heard in any shape or form? We have only to imagine how many a poor girl is, faced with the terrible alternative of being driven literally into the streets by employers or relatives or others in whose power she is unfortunately placed.
Now, we want a real home for such—a house to which any girl can fly at any hour of the day or night, and be taken in, cared for, shielded from the enemy, and helped into circumstances of safety.
The Refuge we propose will be very much on the same principle as the Homes for the Destitute already described. We should accept any girls, say from fourteen years of age, who were without visible means of support, but who were willing to work, and to conform to discipline. There would be various forms of labour provided, such as laundry work, sewing, knitting by machines, &c. Every beneficial influence within our power would be brought to bear on the rectification and formation of character. Continued efforts would be made to secure situations according to the adaptation of the girls, to restore wanderers to their homes, and otherwise provide for all. From this, as with the other Homes, there will be a way made to the Farm and to the Colony over the sea. The institutions would be multiplied as we had means and found them to be necessary, and made self-supporting as far as possible.
SECTION 7.—ENQUIRY OFFICE FOR LOST PEOPLE.
Perhaps nothing more vividly suggests the varied forms of broken-hearted misery in the great City than the statement that 18,000 people are lost in it every year, of whom 9,000 are never heard of any more, anyway in this world. What is true about London is, we suppose, true in about the same proportion of the rest of the country. Husbands, sons, daughters, and mothers are continually disappearing, and leaving no trace behind.
In such cases, where the relations are of some importance in the world, they may interest the police authorities sufficiently to make some enquiries in this country, which, however, are not often successful; or where they can afford to spend large sums of money, they can fall back upon the private detective, who will continue these enquiries, not only at home but abroad.
But where the relations of the missing individual are in humble circumstances, they are absolutely powerless, in nine cases out of ten, to effectually prosecute any search at all that is likely to be successful.
Take, for instance, a cottager in a village, whose daughter leaves for service in a big town or city. Shortly afterwards a letter arrives informing her parents of the satisfactory character of her place. The mistress is kind, the work easy, and she likes her fellow servants. She is going to chapel or church, and the family are pleased. Letters continue to arrive of the same purport, but, at length, they suddenly cease. Full of concern, the mother writes to know the reason, but no answer comes back, and after a time the letters are returned with "gone, no address," written on the envelope. The mother writes to the mistress, or the father journeys to the city, but no further information can be obtained beyond the fact that "the girl has conducted herself somewhat mysteriously of late; had ceased to be as careful at her work; had been noticed to be keeping company with some young man; had given notice and disappeared altogether."
Now, what can these poor people do? They apply to the police, but they can do nothing. Perhaps they ask the clergyman of the parish, who is equally helpless, and there is nothing for them but for the father to hang his head and the mother to cry her self to sleep—to long, and wait, and pray for information that perhaps never comes, and to fear the worst.
Now, our Enquiry Department supplies a remedy for this state of things. In such a case application would simply have to be made to the nearest Salvation Army Officer—probably in her own village, any way, in the nearest town—who would instruct the parents to write to the Chief Office in London, sending portraits and all particulars. Enquiries would at once be set on foot, which would very possibly end in the restoration of the girl.
The achievements of this Department, which has only been in operation for a short time, and that on a limited scale, as a branch of Rescue Work, have been marvellous. No more romantic stories can be found in the pages of our most imaginative writers than those it records. We give three or four illustrative cases of recent date.
A LOST HUSBAND.
Mrs. S., of New Town, Leeds, wrote to say that ROBERT R. left England in July 1889, for Canada to improve his position. He left a wife and four little children behind, and on leaving said that if he were successful out there he should send for them, but if not he should return.
As he was unsuccessful, he left Montreal in the Dominion Liner "Oregon," on October 30th, but except receiving a card from him ere he started, the wife and friends had heard no more of him from that day till the date they wrote us.
They had written to the "Dominion" Company, who replied that "he landed at Liverpool all right," so, thinking he had disappeared upon his arrival, they put the matter in the hands of the Liverpool Police, who, after having the case in hand for several weeks made the usual report —"Cannot be traced."
We at once commenced looking for some passenger who had come over by the same steamer, and after the lapse of a little time we succeeded in getting hold of one.
In our first interview with him we learned that Robert R. did not land at Liverpool, but when suffering from depression threw himself overboard three days after leaving America, and was drowned. We further elicited that upon his death the sailors rifled his clothes and boxes, and partitioned them.
We wrote the Company reporting this, and they promised to make enquiries and amends, but as too often happens, upon making report of the same to the family they took the matter into their own hands, dealt with the Company direct, and in all probability thereby lost a good sum in compensation which we should probably have obtained for them.
A LOST WIFE.
F. J. L. asked us to seek for his wife, who left him on November 4th, 1888. He feared she had gone to live an immoral life; gave us two addresses at which she might possibly be heard of, and a description. They had three children.
Enquiries at the addresses given elicited no information, but from observation in the neighbourhood the woman's whereabouts was discovered.
After some difficulty our Officer obtained an interview with the woman, who was greatly astonished at our having discovered her. She was dealt with faithfully and firmly: the plain truth of God set before her, and was covered with shame and remorse, and promised to return.
We communicated with Mr. L. A few days after he wrote that he had been telegraphed for, had forgiven his wife, and that they were re-united.
Soon afterwards she wrote expressing her deep gratitude to Mrs. Bramwell Booth for the trouble taken in her case.
A LOST CHILD.
ALICE P. was stolen away from home by Gypsies ten years ago, and now longs to find her parents to be restored to them. She believes her home to be in Yorkshire. The Police had this case in hand for some time, but failed entirely.
With these particulars we advertised in the "War Cry." Captain Green, seeing the advertisement, wrote, April 3rd, from 3, C. S., M. H., that her Lieutenant knew a family of the name advertised for, living at Gomersal, Leeds.
We, on the 4th, wrote to this address for confirmation.
April 6th, we heard from Mr. P—-, that this lass is his child, and he writes full of gratitude and joy, saying he will send money for her to go home We, meanwhile, get from the Police, who had long sought this girl, a full description and photo, which we sent to Captain Cutmore; and on April 9th, she wrote us to the effect that the girl exactly answered the description. We got from the parents 15/- for the fare, and Alice was once more restored to her parents. Praise God.
A LOST DAUGHTER.
E. W. Age 17. Application from this girl's mother and brother, who had lost all trace of her since July, 1885, when she left for Canada. Letters had been once or twice received, dated from Montreal, but they stopped. A photo., full description, and handwriting were supplied.
We discovered that some kind Church people here had helped E. W. to emigrate, but they had no information as to her movements after landing.
Full particulars, with photo., were sent to our Officers in Canada. The girl was not found in Montreal. The information was then sent to Officers in other towns in that part of the Colony.
The enquiry was continued through some months; and, finally, through our Major of Division, the girl was reported to us as having been recognised in one of our Barracks and identified. When suddenly called by her own name, she nearly fainted with agitation.
She was in a condition of terrible poverty and shame, but at once consented, on hearing of her mother's enquiries, to go into one of our Canadian Rescue Homes. She is now doing well. Her mother's joy may be imagined.
A LOST SERVANT.
Mrs. M., Clevedon, one of Harriett P.'s old mistresses, wrote us, in deep concern, about this girl. She said she was a good servant, but was ruined by the young man who courted her, and had since had three children. Occasionally, she would have a few bright and happy weeks, but would again lapse into the "vile path."
Mrs. M. tells us that Harriett had good parents, who are dead, but she still has a respectable brother in Hampshire. The last she heard of her was that some weeks ago she was staying at a Girl's Shelter at Bristol, but had since left, and nothing more had been heard of her.
The enquirer requested us to find her, and in much faith added, "I believe you are the only people who, if successful in tracing her, can rescue and do her a permanent good."
We at once set enquiries on foot, and in the space of a few days found that she had started from Bristol on the road for Bath. Following her up we found that at a little place called Bridlington, on the way to Bath, she had met a man, of whom she enquired her way. He hearing a bit of her story, after taking her to a public-house, prevailed upon her to go home and live with him, as he had lost his wife.
It was at this stage that we came upon the scene, and having dealt with them both upon the matter, got her to consent to come away if the man would not marry her, giving him two days to make up his mind.
The two days' respite having expired and, he being unwilling to undertake matrimony, we brought her away, and sent her to one of our Homes, where she is enjoying peace and penitence.
When we informed the mistress and brother of the success, they were greatly rejoiced and overwhelmed us with thanks.
A LOST HUSBAND.
In a seaside home last Christmas there was a sorrowing wife, who mourned over the basest desertion of her husband. Wandering from place to place drinking, he had left her to struggle alone with four little ones dependent upon her exertions.